A longitudinal study of adolescent drink driving and other risk taking behaviors: Challenges for the change process

Sheehan, Mary C., Siskind, Victor, & Schonfeld, Cynthia C. (2004) A longitudinal study of adolescent drink driving and other risk taking behaviors: Challenges for the change process. In 17th International Conference on Alcohol Drugs and Traffic Safety, T2004, August 8–13, 2004, Glasgow.

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Risk taking is a major contributing cause of injury, particularly with respect to the trauma experienced by young male adults. A report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 1999, called Australia’s Young People – their Health and Wellbeing 1999 1, found that more than two thirds of deaths in young people were attributable to some form of injury, including road crashes and suicide. The focus and methods best able to effect change and reduction in at-risk attitudes and behaviours leading to injury remain understudied, although it is clear that the development of interventions to reduce risk related behaviours is exceedingly complex.

The first section of this paper reports on analyses of data from a series of longitudinal studies of drink driving and associated behaviours. It follows a cohort of 4,500 adolescents from junior high school [aged 14.5 years] until their mid-twenties. The analyses aim to answer five key questions derived from the literature regarding risk taking.
Are sub-groups of high-risk takers characterised by the same attitudes and decision-making strategies regarding risks as the normative group? Do these characteristics remain consistent predictors of high-risk-takers: (i) over time and (ii) regardless of the types of risky behaviour?
What are the protective factors that emerge for the majority of risk takers in adolescence and can these be used to inform the content and targeting of relevant interventions? What social, family and personal factors lead to the lower levels of risk taking by females and can these be used to inform road safety interventions? Are the young people who experience one type of injury (for example, MVA), more likely to experience injury from other causes (for example, criminal behaviours, licit and illicit drug use and suicide)?

The second section of the paper discusses the application of these findings to the development of an intervention for young high "risk takers" to reduce behaviour that "harms self or others". In particular, it highlights the need to move from sole reliance on classroom based programs to much more broadly targeted interventions that develop the protective role of mentors in the young person’s social context.

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ID Code: 537
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: teenagers, drink driving, risk, taking, risky behavior, risky behaviour, harm, intervention, mentor, road crash, road crashes, injury, attitude, teenage drink driving, adolescent drink driving
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 09 Nov 2004 00:00
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 09:42

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